A Simple Diet Reminder
Everyone likes a good diet post once in a while. Something to remind us about those small dietary habits that ultimately sabotage our efforts to look good naked. This is one of those posts.
You want to drop a couple dozen stubborn pounds of fat. You know what to do and how to do it. You figure in about 2 months you can complete your transformation by eating healthy foods but fewer calories, and adding an extra hour of exercise each week. On paper and in your brain it all makes sense. But how’s that working for you?
Typical Diet Progress
Let me guess. After two months of eating fruits and veggies, and hitting the treadmill with fierce dedication, you step on the scale and find that you’ve lost a whopping… 2 pounds. What could possibly have happened? Would could have gone wrong?
You realize muscle weighs more than fat and you figure you’ve gained a couple pounds of muscle, so your recalculate your weight loss based on that. Let’s see… if you’re exercising with intensity 4 days a week, at least 3 hours of weight training each week, maybe another 3 hours of endurance cardio (or HIIT if you’re smart), you probably gained 1 pound of muscle every 2 weeks, so that’s a total gain of 4 pounds of muscle.
You ignore the fact that you’re restricting calories and probably didn’t gain 4 pounds of muscle in 8 weeks, and calculate your total fat loss at 6 pounds. Wow. 6 pounds of fat lost in 8 weeks. Not too shabby right? WRONG!
Hate the Scale
If you got your shtuff in order you could be losing 2 pounds of fat per week and still gain a pound of muscle every month. That’s 14 total pounds of scale weight in 2 months!
You’re working so hard and you don’t understand why the progress is just not there. It’s a conspiracy! You figure someone or something is sabotaging your diet. You’re probably right, but the saboteur is most likely none other than… Red Herring… just kidding… it’s YOU!
Peep these first 5 five items in my list of 10 possible ways you could be sabotaging your diet.
Assuming “Healthy” is Synonymous with Low-Calorie
Whole grain foods, olive oil, nuts, avocados, and Salmon are really good for you. They are also dense foods that tend to be high in calories. On a controlled calorie diet you need to figure out which healthy foods are highest in calories and eat those only in moderation. Eat only small portions of these foods, and in moderation.
Popular snacks like peanuts and avocados are full of healthy fats, but fat has 9 calories per gram and opposed to the 4 calories per gram of protein and carbohydrate. Whole grain bread and pasta are easy to eat because you can mix a million other foods with them. Instead of a tuna sandwich, choose a tuna salad. Instead of whole grain pasta with chicken and broccoli, stick with just the chicken and broccoli.
Eating When You’re Thirsty
In the even that you might not be sure if you are actually thirsty or hungry, assume you are thirsty. In fact even when you are sure that you are hungry, assume you are thirsty. Some nutritionists suggest drink 2 glasses of water before each meal to help manage your appetite.
Whenever you feel a hint of hunger, immediately drink 8 oz of water, tea, or some other calorie-free beverage. This includes first thing in the morning, before each meal, before a planned snack, or any time when you think you need food. If you drink 8 oz, wait 10 minutes, and still feel famished, then it’s OK to settle for a low calorie snack.
Unless of course you are intermittent fasting, in which case you just have to suck it up if you’re in the middle of your fasting window.
Underestimating Calorie Intake
Another title to this point might be “Lying to Yourself About Calorie Intake”. I don’t care what your excuse is, if you’re not keeping a food journal or you don’t have your meals clearly outlined with calculated portion control, then you don’t know how many calories you’re really eating each day. Random snacking is a diet killer. Be conscious of every time you put something into your mouth and ask yourself if it’s really part of your diet.
If you don’t want to keep a food log, at least measure out portions for a week so you have it fresh in your brain. People historically underestimate portion size for foods like cereal, salad dressing, butter, trail mix, juice, and even larger fruits like melons, mangoes and bananas. Always check for serving sizes on packages and don’t lie to yourself about how much you’re really eating.
Overestimating Calorie Output
Spending an hour on the treadmill does not burn 1000 calories. 30 minutes of fairly intense exercise like jogging will burn between 300-450 calories for most people, depending on your bodyweight. Moderate to low intensity exercise like walking or plodding away on the elliptical, burns even fewer calories. High intensity exercise like HIIT, kickboxing, sprinting, and jumping rope will burn more calories, but is harder to maintain for a longer session.
Rewarding Yourself With Food for Exercising
Finishing your workout is a horrible reason to reward yourself with a snack. You exercise to burn calories, to stimulate, or both, but you don’t exercise to justify eating afterward.
If your main goal is to lose fat, don’t reward yourself with high calorie foods after your workout. Outline your post-workout diet beforehand and stick to it. A half serving of a post-workout shake and a high protein, low fat meal will suit your needs just fine.
If your main goal is to maintain or gain muscle mass while leaning out, then you need to make sure you drink your post-workout drink and eat your post-workout muscle building meals, but if you want to get lean then you still need to stick to your pre-game plan. High calorie post-workout meals will build muscle, but they will also sabotage your attempts to show off your sick pack abs.
Think about these first 5 tips today and tune back in tomorrow for 5 more ways you might be sabotaging your diet.
What do you think about these first 5 tips?
Are you guilty of any of these saboteurs?
If so, which ones? Why do you do them? And do you plan to make a change?